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Friday, November 12, 2010

The First Real Thing by Cat Grant



The First Real Thing by Cat Grant
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (125 pgs)
Other: M/M, Multiple Partners, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Anemone

My name’s Cameron. And I’m a male escort. I’m the best, and most expensive, at what I do. I have one rule—never let anyone in.


In five years of hooking I’ve never picked up the wrong guy. But when I met Toronto ad man Trevor Barclay in a Manhattan bar, his soft green eyes and shy smile drew me right in. When I discovered the error I had made, I should have written it off as a mistake and moved on. But memories of the steamy encounter we shared in his hotel room continued to haunt me.

I never should have agreed to see him again, but from that very first night he worked his way under my skin and into my heart. I can’t stop thinking about him. But how can I tell him the first man he’s been with in sixteen years sells himself for a living?

Within the first sentence of this book, I was hooked. Cameron is a male escort and this story is his version of the events as they unfold. Darkly sensual and starkly real, Cameron is a jewel in the world of high class prostitution until he picks up the wrong trick at the wrong time. Trevor isn't actually his next trick. Trevor is someone who likes Cameron for who he is and not just what Cameron can give him.

A dash of Pretty Woman mixed with a swirl of gay romance and a sprinkle of realism, the tale of Trevor and Cameron stayed with me after I closed my computer, because the characters Cat Grant created were so three dimensional, I felt I could follow them through the rest of their journey off the pages. The sex was sizzling with Trevor and Cameron but you could feel the emptiness inside Cameron as he continued his job, trying to get enough money to make it out, be one of the lucky ones to ride off into the sunset with his beau.

Prostitution is a hard business and I hate when writers feel the need to pretty it up. Instead this was cold, harsh reality with an ending I'm sure some of them dream for. That there is one man who will sweep them off their feet and what they do for a living doesn't really matter. Cameron really is a hooker with a heart of gold but can Trevor be the one to rescue him right back?

The First Real Thing is an absolute keeper for me and I can't wait to see what Cat Grant has in store for us next.

A Measure of Discipline by Diane Adams



A Measure of Discipline by Diane Adams
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (24 pgs)
Other: M/M, Multiple Partners, Spanking, bdsm (domination)
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

After ten long years working as head of student records at a local university, Taylor Jordan has landed the programming job of his dreams, and he’s ready to move on with his life. Training students to replace him starts off as an ordeal, but things heat up after lunch and when Taylor’s not-boyfriend drops by for a surprise visit and catches Taylor in a compromising position. Seeing that Taylor needs a lesson in self-control, Adam decides it's up to him to exert a measure of discipline over the situation.

Needed: One replacement for office job. Interested parties apply within.

His job is the pits, but the side benefits are worth sticking around. Do I have you interested? You should be. Diane Adams’ story is one to tickle your fancy if you have a taste for a little harmless domination.

A Measure of Discipline started off a bit slow. I got the need for some build-up for Taylor’s character. I had to understand him and how bored he is in his job. And who can’t relate to those moments when the day job is less than a thrill-ride? It’s believable. Once we really get into his head, then the story gains momentum and is nicely paced.

Taylor needs the spur of the moment, could be caught at any moment fun of the incident with Ashton. I liked his carefree nature. He’s not thrilled in the job, but in some ways, with Ashton, he can control what he doesn’t like and turn it into something he can deal with. At the same time, there’s Adam. I wasn’t exactly sure of his relationship to Taylor, but I could tell there was more than meets the eye. Yeah, I wanted to see more of them together after the story. The combination of Adam and Taylor together swelters.

Although this story is more of a happy for now, I knew when I closed the book, Taylor got the ending he wanted, even if it wasn’t explicitly explained. Leaves for a follow up and Ms. Adams, I am waiting.

If you want a story that sizzles, then you need to read A Measure of Discipline. I give this book 3 cherries.

Shadow’s Embrace by Tielle St. Claire



Shadow’s Embrace by Tielle St. Claire
Publishing: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (240 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/M, M/F/M, anal play, menage
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Canterbury Bell

Kalen is happy living her normal, human life. Though she’s the daughter of two strong werewolves, she inherited almost none of the wolf’s traits. She has a great job, a comfortable house and Brennan, her very sexy, very human fiancé. She has no intention of ever telling him that her family turns furry and howls at the moon.

Then Rebel returns, a childhood friend Kalen hasn’t seen in years, stepping out of the shadows of her past. Despite the desire simmering between herself, Rebel and Brennan, Kalen is not about to let Rebel screw up her plans for a normal existence.

But when an injury puts Brennan on the edge of death, there’s only one way to save him. Now Kalen must watch her fiancé turn into the very creature she fears, drawing her back into a world she left behind long ago. Her new werewolf’s lust and needs and their mutual attraction to Rebel awaken hidden depths in Kalen. Is she strong enough to keep two werewolves?

What’s a girl to do when all she has in life is a very sexy fiancée, a successful career and a very hot, hot, hot childhood friend who shows up one day on her couch half naked? Oh, and this particular girl is also a werewolf with an identity crisis.

Kalen is living her life as a human with little connection to her werewolf heritage when she is confronted with her past and two men who will need her to survive. With the appearance of her childhood friend, werewolf Rebel, Kalen finds herself looking at him in a whole new light. But she cannot ignore her deep devotion and love for her fiancée, Brennen. An unforeseen circumstance brings Brennen deep into the lifestyle of the werewolves and Kalen now needs to acknowledge her reality and accept her werewolf lineage. With the help of Rebel and her werewolf family, Kalen is able to accept her true identity and at the same time teach Brennen to accept his new identity and embrace love from whoever holds his heart.

This is Book 5 of the Wolf Heritage series but it stands very well all by itself. The story moves so well, the detail and dialogue are so well placed and the characters are interesting, dynamic and diverse. The characters of the two heroes are so opposite to start and then their similarities emerge with such imagination. This book contains so much story you can read it twice and not come away with the same thing. I'm certain you will enjoy this throughout every page.

Back to Normal by Wren Boudreau



Back to Normal by Wren Boudreau
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (180 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Is it normal for a romance to blossom between a man who’s in the closet and a man who’s never wanted more than a hook-up? How about when a clairvoyant grandmother and the ghost of a dead aunt are thrown into the mix, along with a stiletto-wearing twin sister, an Irish pub, a detective brother, and a mother who thinks her son just needs a good woman?

Greg Capello thought that he’d feel normal if he pretended he wasn’t gay, and now it’s making him crazy that he can’t stop thinking about his new boss Finn Sparks: Finn’s amber eyes, brilliant smile, and strong hands, among other things. Finn thinks it’s not normal that instead of wanting to hop into bed with Greg, he’d like to know more about the man, like what’s under that starchy exterior, and who he’s talking to when it appears no one’s there.

They can’t fight the attraction between them; every time they touch it’s electric. So Finn finds himself taking it slow and going on dates, for crying out loud. And Greg has to accept himself, or accept the consequences of staying hidden.

So...what's normal anyway?

If "normal" is sex with six feet of gorgeous male, sign me up. Greg is not so sure though as he struggles with coming to grips with his reality. After a recent divorce and on the verge of losing both his jobs, Greg can’t keep hiding. It’s now affecting his health. And since his dead Aunt Coco’s spirit has hitched a ride with his, that’s one more person who depends on Greg alive and well. When his new boss Finn sees right through all the smokescreens and walls Greg has up, Greg realizes Finn may just be the catalyst he needs.

Back to Normal is a very sweet romance about a man coming out of the closet and accepting who he really is. This book is part of Loose Id’s coming out series and fits in very well. The story is told from Greg’s point of view as he struggles with his life and his goals. He is a teacher but in this economy he’s finding it hard to find another job after being laid off. This stress combines with his overwhelming feelings for Finn and sends Greg almost in a mental breakdown. The story follows as Greg instead comes to terms with his wants and needs, and finding a way to finally be happy.

The great writing allows Greg and Finn’s relationship to build piece by piece, bit by bit. Instead of being slow, this feels honest. Both men change quite a bit from the beginning of the novel to the end so watching that change happen and why is absorbing. Finn and Greg take their relationship slow, first dating, then kissing, sometimes touching. Nothing too much too soon and this can sometimes be a little slow. Mostly this is due to the break neck pace that most romance relationships happen in fiction so the change of pace may throw some readers off. But those that can appreciate the build up with good tension won’t be disappointed.

Back to Normal is a well written romance. There are good characters, wonderful chemistry, and a host of family members that make you wish your family was that eccentric and adorable. Even Aunt Coco is a great addition and who knew an older woman in the head of a young, handsome gay man could be so entertaining. Anyone looking for a satisfying romance and doesn’t mind a slower pace to happiness should definitely pick this up.

Twice the Novice by Debra Glass



Twice the Novice by Debra Glass
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (99 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Forced Seduction, Toys, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Violet

Shamed by secrets, Anne Meredith will do anything to fulfill her marriage contract to a mysterious Bavarian count. Even if it means submitting to Axel von Sommerhalder, the handsome stranger the count has enlisted to train her. She thinks the intimate punishments her trainer metes out will be a humiliating ordeal. Instead, as she finds herself surrendering to the dominant desires of a man forbidden to claim her, she discovers even more about herself than she ever dreamed possible.

Axel demands that his novice abandon every inhibition. But in doing so, they both embark on a dangerous journey, tempting each other’s flesh, relishing every forbidden touch—and breaking every rule.

"Twice the Novice" is like an edgy, dark, carnal fairy tale that will tantalize you, send chills down your spine, seduce you, raise your temperature, leave you gasping, and finally melt your heart.

“To be the wife of a von Sommerhalder you must learn passion. You must learn how to demand others meet your desires. You must learn to bear yourself with the decorum befitting a noblewoman. … You will learn everything about your body. Everything. And I will teach you how to pleasure a man.”

Axel von Sommerhalder tells Anne Meredith this as he begins to train her to be the perfect wife for his uncle Count Georg von Sommerhalder. Due to family shame and a humiliating secret, Anne sees no other option but to marry the count. As agreed in their marriage contract, Anne “must submit to—and pass—training”. She can refuse any part of the training, but she will then be sent home. Anne’s surprised to not only find out how ready she is to be trained, but how much she enjoys training.

By family tradition, Axel must train Anne. When Axel meets Anne he sees something special. So special he doesn’t want to train her. He’s disgusted by the venality of the past candidates and scared she will be like the rest. To further confound him, although he must train her, he may not violate her in any way. Violating the novice is punishable by death, even if she asks him to. I have to admit I loved Axel’s internal torment/conflict.

To protect her secret Anne disobeys Axel. This leaves Axel no other choice but to punish her. Over the knee spankings and other instruments come into play. Dildos are also extensively used. However what starts as punishments invariably results in Anne gaining pleasure. I have to confess this was delicious, the punishments had me blushing with my temperature rising. As Anne finds pleasure she learns to trust Axel. Once she trusts Axel, she finally reveals her secret to him. Axel’s reaction to her secret was just beautiful.

Finally the day comes when Axel declares Anne trained. The twist here is unexpected and clever.
I was easily able to identify with Axel and Anne’s emotions, conflicts, and motivations. I was invested in them from the very beginning. Their relationship just swept me away. The pacing was perfect. The setting was picture-perfect for a romantic gothic fairy tale.

Ms. Glass has outdone herself with Twice the Novice. This is one of those rare books that I read in one sitting. Darkly erotic, it wrapped a web around me that kept me hot and bothered for most of the book, and finally left me with a smile on my face. I wouldn’t change a word in this book. It was that good!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sundae Surprise by D.C. Juris



Sundae Surprise by D.C. Juris
Publisher: Breathless Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (24 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex, fetish (food)
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Dean learns the true meaning of the words "playing with your food" when his hot and hunky roommate, Rick, interrupts his plans for some solo Sunday afternoon fun. Human sundae aside, Dean discovers a kinship with Rick that he never knew existed, and a basis for what promises to be a delicious relationship. But when Rick overreacts to Dean's nonchalance after their first time, can Dean convince Rick that what they have is real?

Sundae toppings never looked so good.

I have to start by saying this is a very short story. Some tales are best told in small snippets. This is one of them. I’m new to D.C. Juris’ work, but I’m glad I got this book.

I like stories where both characters are infatuated with each other, but circumstances, namely not admitting to the attraction, keep them apart. The general theme of the story is sexy. Two guys, some whipped cream, and a whole lot of imagination. D.C. Juris kept me bolted to my seat wanting to know what would happen next.

But the same issue that makes a short story good, can also be to it’s detriment. The characters come across as a bit thin on details and development. I knew Dean wanted Rick, but I wanted to know more about them. I liked both men, but I wanted to know more about why they stayed as roommates so long. I liked the tension in keeping them apart as long as they were, but I’m nosy and wanted to know what happened next. There were some interesting ideas alluded to at the end of the story and I wanted to see those played out.

Ulitmately, if you want a sinfully sexy story with an interesting use of chocolate syrup, then you need to read Sundae Surprise. I give it 3 cherries.

Under the Influence by V.J. Summers



Under the Influence by V.J. Summers
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (83 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Buttercup

Working undercover in a club to bust a dealer should be routine. And it would be, if Max wasn’t distracted by a gorgeous Goth-boy. He wants to bury his hands in Ben’s spiky black hair, bury something else in his pouty red mouth. When his sweet candy boy refuses to stay away from the dangerous club where patrons are ODing in record numbers, Max doesn’t know if he should beat some sense into Ben—or fuck it into him.

With his thesis on the Goth subculture finished, Ben has no reason to hang around Candyland anymore. Except for Max. The brooding bouncer is too tempting, even if he can’t seem to decide whether to push Ben away or pull him closer. But Ben will take what he can get, because when Max pulls, it’s mind-blowing.

As the ODs continue, Max tries to fight his raging libido long enough to collar the perp. And the deadly dealer is closer than he thinks, scrambling to tie up loose ends—including one named Ben.

Welcome to Candyland where the music is hot, the drinks aren't watered, and the party favors just might kill you. The 18 and older goth club Candyland is the place to be seen and, just lately, die. With a different kid OD'ing each week on pixie dust all Max, an undercover police officer, wants to do is keep Ben safe. Ben on the other hand only wants to get Max's attention.

Ben has finished his thesis on the Goth subculture and has only been hanging around Candyland in the hopes of catching Max's eye. Max has been trying to stay far away from Ben, while trying to catch a drug dealer and killer. A night out celebrating leaves Ben waking up in Max's bed with no memory of what happened the night before, or how close he came to dying. Meanwhile Max can't get the thought of everything that did happen and almost happened out of his head. After starring for so long in each other's fantasies, and having had a taste of what could be, they both find it hard to stay away. The closer they get to each other the more they pull away.

Max and Ben both have the uncanny ability to say the exact wrong things at the exact wrong time. Mainly directly before or after some very steamy sexual acts. The chemistry between these two men is undeniable, it's their communication skills or lack thereof that keep getting them into trouble. Max, in his efforts to protect Ben, keeps ordering him away from Candyland, with no explanation. Ben, in defiance of Max's orders, keeps showing up, causing a great deal of frustration for the reader and characters alike. Max expects Ben to just blindly trust him without giving him a reason to. Even though Max habitually breaks protocol to help Ben, he stubbornly refuses to tell Ben who he really is and why he is at Candyland. While Ben know's he likes Max he refuses to believe that Max could like him. For two people so adept at observing their surroundings they are both surprisingly blind when it comes to their own lives.

Despite the somewhat circuitous rout, Max and Ben do come together in a surprisingly tender moment. Their entire relationship has been overshadowed by the investigation, emotionally and sexually, so the first time they really kiss is at the end. Although it was frustrating at times, it isn't until after they have both almost lost everything that they are able to admit, not just to themselves but each other, how they both feel. While I enjoyed all the buildup, the sexual tension, the clandestine blowjobs in the men's room, and the slightly macho posturing, it was great to finally see these two come together and be vulnerable.

V.J. Summers' Under the Influence is a heady mix of danger and lust. The fast paced and gritty storyline will keep you guessing, and the sexual tension will leave you itching for just a bit more.

Dillon’s Prayer by Blake Deveraux



Dillon’s Prayer by Blake Deveraux
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (75 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex, rape
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

God, Please Help me, I can’t live another year like this…

Dillon McDonald is a broken man, both in body and in spirit. His sadistic partner, Alfonse, had successfully broken him long ago. But this New Year’s Eve, a strange new feeling takes hold of the young man. Is it hope?

Breaking free of the hell he’d found himself in is only the beginning for this handsome, troubled young man though. When charming young softball coach, Jon Michaels shows interest in Dillon, he realizes that the stakes are much higher than he’s ever imagined. Jon is kind, handsome, and spiritually grounded. Dillon’s can't help but believe that Jon may just be the answer to the prayer he’d assumed went unheard.

Will Dillon be able to begin a new life with Jon, or will Alfonse be the end of them both?

Love can conquer all, but what if the damage is too deep?

When I opened this book by Blake Deveraux, I knew I was in for a great story. The characters are deep and I couldn’t help but want to hug more than one of them. I was drawn in from the first page because I wanted to see Dillon get his prayer answered. The guy seriously tugged at my heartstrings.

Although I really liked this book, there were a few things that hindered the story. There are a few minor editing errors that tripped me up as I read. I had to go back a couple times and re-read. Still, it wasn’t enough to keep me from enjoying the story. I also have to mention there is a flashback of forced seduction in this story. While it wasn’t a turn-off for me, because it added to the depth of the story, but some might find the graphic nature of Dillon’s relationship with the antagonist a bit much.

Keeping that in mind, this book isn’t for the weak of heart but it’s a great read. What Dillon goes through and how he deals with it is some really heady stuff. He’s not a simple man and the issues he deals with are equally complex. Another thing about this story, unlike many m/m stories, this one has a healthy mix of religion involved. I have to say, I found it refreshing. Dillon could easily loose his faith and belief in humankind. Mr. Devereaux handles it in a nice fashion that kept me involved in the story. I’m looking for more from this author. Definitely worth 3.5 cherries.

Sex on Summer Sabbatical by Devon Rhodes



Sex on Summer Sabbatical by Devon Rhodes
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (42 pgs)
Other: M/F, Younger Man/Older Woman
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Anemone

Who knew it would so hard to get a twenty-something man to have sex?

Forced by her employer to take a three month sabbatical, workaholic Tori Warren makes a checklist of things to accomplish which will make the time off worthwhile.

Get into the best shape of her life. Have the most fun of her life. Oh, and have the best sex of her life.

Sexy young Adam comes into her life at just the right time. A physical trainer with a loving-life personality, he should work nicely in helping her meet all three goals. He’d be especially perfect for the best sex. Now if he would only just cooperate...

Tori Warren thinks she has a perfect plan for her forced summer sabbatical and it involves getting in shape and having the hottest sex of her life all before she is too old to enjoy it. Things seem to be going swimmingly until a side stitch takes her down a peg. Fortunately there is a knight in shining armor (a personal trainer is his day job) and he rides in to save the day.

Adam is young and eager to not only give Tori all she wants but even more than she bargained for. When he catches on to Tori's plan, rather than being angry, he decides to do the opposite and make her wait until after her sabbatical ends. In a sexy game of cat and mouse, Adam brings her to the precipice every time, intentionally driving her insane and unintentionally doing the same thing to himself.

Ms. Rhodes had me drooling over the intensely sexy Adam and sympathizing with the socially inept Tori. I was hanging on every sentence, waiting for one of them to break and biting my nails while watching them breaking each other down. When it finally exploded, it was awesome. I just wished the sex had lasted longer.

While I thought this was just going to be a wham, bam, thank you ma'am, the HEA was a sweet and happy surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed the sexual tension and I can't wait to read more from this author.

Great Restorations by Libby Drew



Great Restorations by Libby Drew
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (220 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Marc Wynn has accompanied his beloved aunt to estate sales for years, but he’s never found anything he couldn’t live without—until he meets Sawyer Calhoun. Sawyer, in town to deal with his grandfather’s estate, wastes no time in revealing his romantic interest in Marc, but their promising first evening ends badly with Sawyer as adamant about broadcasting his sexuality as Marc is about hiding his.

But when Sawyer hires Marc to restore his grandfather’s house, their intense attraction grows into an emotional connection neither can resist. During the renovations, family secrets and other surprises come to light, and Sawyer must face his past when a tragedy threatens Marc’s livelihood. But not every obstacle is surmountable, and even with Sawyer by his side, Marc might lose everything.

Secrets in a closet have a way of getting out. Marc has quietly resigned himself to keeping his sexuality in the closet due to his small town. He’s not unhappy and figures it’s easier to just go with the flow than to make a stand. Yet when he meets gorgeous Sawyer, Marc starts to reconsider his decisions. The fact that Sawyer is not backing down and keeps making Marc’s jeans tighter is just one complication of many that seems to pop up in Marc’s formerly orderly life.

Great Restorations is an engaging and satisfying romance. Marc and Sawyer are a delightful couple and the story gives them plenty of good tension and chemistry. The plot begins with the two dancing around each other with Marc in the closet and Sawyer unwilling to get involved with someone hiding their sexuality. Despite their claims, the two men can’t seem to stay away from each other. The way they get close, back away, and get close again is very entertaining and exciting. This is followed by more complications that appear and bring the two men closer and closer.

The build up of the main relationship is skillful and well crafted. There is instant chemistry but they wait to act on it and first create a nice foundation of mutual respect, admiration, and friendship. When they finally get together their romance feels satisfying and genuine. The hurdles that come are interesting as is the creative solution. The cast of secondary characters are very funny and entertaining and come together to make a thoroughly engaging story, and one you likely won’t want to put down.

Although this couple feels nicely wrapped up with a good ending and a great relationship, there is no doubt that the author may choose to revisit these two perhaps with a cameo in future books. The great detail added about restoring homes, the funny older women depicted, and the steamy sex scenes all combine to give a really great romance. Don't miss it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Damaged Cowboys by Stacey Espino



Damaged Cowboys by Stacey Espino
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (175 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M/M Menage, Anal play, Toys
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Emily returns to the country after a ten year absence. She’s almost twenty-two and very much a woman. Her first priority is getting into the pants of the three Macintosh brothers that she’s never stopped thinking about over the years. They’ve sure grown up and have to be the hottest cowboys she’s every known.

All three men easily fall in love with her, but aren’t willing to share. With such strong feelings for each of the Macintosh brothers, she could never choose between them. Her mission is to change their minds and convince them that sharing isn’t so bad after all. In fact, it could be down right amazing.

Emily went to the MacIntosh ranch looking for reminders of an untainted childhood, what she found was boys of her youth had grown into the men of her dreams.

It’s been said that you can never go home again, but what if going home was exactly what you needed to heal your soul and in turn heal the aching hearts of the men you never forgot? Emily Rickshaw had never resolved the terror she experienced at the hands of a family friend and had instead turned the anger into rebellion. Likewise, the MacIntosh brothers had each reacted to their own tragedy in equally unhealthy ways. They need Emily to heal the damage as much as she needs them.

Be prepared to have your heart strings tugged at great lengths by this poignant novella. Ms. Espino’s characters are very complex and yet at the same time so very real. Emily’s personal struggles and the boys heartache is so palpable at times as I reader I couldn’t help but hurt for them. You know their actions are motivated by their past.

Don’t get me wrong this book isn’t all gloom and sadness. There are some sexual encounters (both one on one and the ménage scenes) that are smoking HOT! Holy sexual scorchers Batman! Don’t forget your fire extinguisher. Emily is brash, flirty and not afraid to ask for what she wants. And what she wants includes three hot young cowboys.

This was my first book by Ms. Espino and it certainly won’t be my last. I’ve already been scoping out her works in progress to see what I need to add to my TBR. Do yourself a favor and pick a copy of Damaged Cowboys, you won’t be sorry.

Touch of a Dragon by Kim Knox



Touch of a Dragon by Kim Knox
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: short Story (129 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

“Do you want to live?”

Half dead and under a heap of rubble, Leona Munro isn’t going to turn down that offer. Yet accepting spins her life out of control. She is the Chosen and what that means, no one will say.

Thrown into the world of magic she secretly craves, Leona must find the strength to survive. Too many people want to use what she is to their own advantage in the war between technology and magic. She can trust no one...least of all the sinfully attractive Samuel Blake, who might just be a dragon.

Whenever I want a sexy erotic romance, I know that author Kim Knox will deliver. Her newest, Touch of a Dragon, is a creation of a different sort. With a sexy hero, a hard-as-nails heroine, and an intricate plot, fans are sure to finish this story entertained. Live or die? Not a difficult choice until you learn your savior isn’t who he appears to be. Blake offers cryptic replies when Leona searches for answers. All she knows is that things are not as she thinks they are, and with danger lurking around every corner, she isn’t sure who she can trust.

While a new take in the genre, I found there was a lot left unexplained in Touch of a Dragon. Sexy scenes will certainly get your blood pumping, but it’s the plot that is somewhat difficult to follow, especially as Blake doesn’t want to divulge too much information and Leona is left to uncover much of her purpose on her own. Since the story is written in a first person narrative, it works somewhat as the reader learns things along with the heroine. You are given what you need here and there but are forced to wait it out to discover who Blake truly is, as well as his attraction, yet denial, of Leona as his lover. However, by the end of the journey, there are still a lot of unanswered questions, leaving you to ponder about a few things that are left open-ended.

There are good things to say about Touch of a Dragon. The writing, as always, is fantastic. I love Ms. Knox’s voice and dialogue. Blake is super-sexy, while Leona is more than capable of holding her own. I enjoyed the secondary characters, the superior world building, and the fascinating and dangerous environment the author has created. The atmosphere lends realism to the grittiness of the material, which is something I always enjoy when reading darker erotic romance.

I’d definitely recommend Touch of a Dragon to those who enjoy something that takes a step out of the box. If you’ve not enjoyed Ms. Knox’s previous works, be sure to check them out. She’s an author readers should become acquainted with.

Wild at Heart by Crystal Kaufmann



Wild at Heart by Crystal Kaufmann
Publishing: Lyrical Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (58 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Canterbury Bell

What is more passionate than forbidden love?

Penny Thompson’s impending marriage to a prissy easterner she’s never met signifies the end of her idyllic freedom. A tomboy at heart, she’d rather work her family’s cattle ranch from the back of a horse than bake and sew. The thought of marrying a man she doesn’t know is bad enough, but when she meets a half-breed Indian who ignites her desire, the idea of a wedding night with a stranger she doesn’t love turns abhorrent. John Black Feather’s touch causes a storm of passion Penny fears she cannot live without.

The son of a Navajo chief and a white captive, John Black Feather has always walked between two worlds. Conceived and educated specifically to help the tribe’s relations with the spreading white world, his dalliance with Penny Thompson could ruin his father’s decades-old plan. But Penny enflames him and drives him to take foolish risks for their love…even though he knows a future with her is impossible.

There is nothing like a love story that promises a teary eye and a happily ever after. There is no love story that is more endearing than an unrequited love story. Wild at Heart is both!!

Penny Thompson is an energetic and enthusiastic young woman living on her family’s ranch, enjoying her life as a western woman when her brother feels she needs to marry. In his concern he arranges a marriage with an eastern gentleman thinking this will take care of his sister’s future.

Little did he know that her head has turned to John Black Feather, her brother’s friend and closest companion. After one intimate encounter in the barn, Penny’s life forever changes.

When her would be husband shows up unexpectedly Penny needs to face her brother, suitor and family members with the announcement that she would rather live a life alone than commit to an arranged marriage, especially if it isn’t with John Black Feather.

Family history, cultural demands and beliefs and the sense of obligation along with a heart wrenching goodbye scene all come together to make a wonderful and endearing romance that I bet you will absolutely love. The heartache and deep emotions that are displayed by John Black Feather make a girl’s heart go pitter-pat. His willingness to sacrifice his heart and soul so that she is able to fulfill her family’s needs bring the emotional angst to the forefront and you just want to shake that girl and tell her to wake up!!!

Ms. Kaufmann, I hope there is a story about Will Thompson coming soon -- his story is just waiting to be told. I would love to read it.

If you are partial to historical western don’t miss this one. I loved it! I love the romance, the true love, the self sacrifice and ultimately the realization of “I can’t live my another day life without this person!” This is a romance in the purest sense.

Stopping Point by Victoria Blisse



Stopping Point by Victoria Blisse
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (78 pgs)
Other: M/F, F/F, Multiple Partners, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cholla

Josh is a vampire he just doesn't quite know it yet.

He is confused and his voluptuous sire, Cara is far too busy being mysterious to really help him unlock the secrets of his Afterlife. However, he pieces it together by himself and decides to turn his best mates into Vampires too. This doesn't quite go to plan but he does discover The Point and its unique, ten-second rule.

Cara does not approve of Josh visiting The Point but that night she turns up at his door bloodied and much more dead than usual, and accepts Josh's help to escape from her much older and much crazier Sire Leopold. How is Josh going to defeat an older, wiser and more powerful vampire? He hasn't a clue but for Cara he is willing to find out.

He thought he was doing a good deed, truly. Rushing in and attempting to save the woman crying out for help. What he gets in return, however, leaves him dazed and confused until, little by little, the pieces start falling into place. Josh is now a vampire, but what is he to do with himself? And where is the crazy woman who attacked him?

Josh is quite a fun character. In the beginning, he’s nothing more than a good time Charlie only looking to enjoy himself. He works to pay his rent and buy his beer and not much else. Hanging with his two best friends is the only thing that matters. Until Cara, his sire, turns up on his doorstep one night, battered and bruised. At that moment, everything changes. Josh’s emotional turn around at that point is endearing. It’s like he’s suddenly realized that there’s more to life than a place to stay and a good shag.

Cara has Josh pretty confused. Her seemingly erratic behavior in the beginning keeps him at arm’s length, unsure if he can really trust her or not. In response to his growing trust, she allows more of her true self to show and she becomes a real person with real problems, endearing herself to me. I did, however, love her crazy, here one minute, gone the next approach at the very beginning, but am also glad she eventually settled down in the end.

Stopping Point is a fast-paced steamy story with a little bit of something for everyone. Filled to the brim with humor, action and some of the steamiest love scenes I’ve read, there’s a whole lot to love about Victoria Blisse! You cannot lose with this second book in the Point Vampires series and you definitely won’t regret spending your time with Josh and Cara.

Get What You Need by Janey Chapel



Get What You Need by Janey Chapel
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (80 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

An ordinary Thursday night at Bryan’s Bar in downtown Atlanta, Georgia—home to a staff made up entirely of ex-cons of one stripe or another—turns into something quite different when riled-up police detective Patrick Graves walks in. Bartender Jay Hinshaw recognizes Patrick’s leashed ferocity and offers him exactly what he thinks Patrick wants: an outlet for his pent-up frustration. But Patrick’s a complicated guy, and getting what he wants only scratches the surface of what he needs.

Sometimes tall, dark, and sexy is exactly what you need. Ex-con Jay has cleaned up his life after being in prison but he can still spot a cop when one walks into a bar. Patrick exudes attitude and sex appeal and Jay wants what Patrick is giving off. The two come together with sizzling chemistry but will they want seconds?

Get What You Need is a fast paced and erotic story. Jay and Patrick are two strong, intelligent men that know what they want and aren’t afraid to go after it. They each have a past and an equally complicated future but their sexual tension is anything but. The story has the two coming together (again and again) in the best ways. There is a lot of emotion and feeling that is offered, with some of the best sex scenes I’ve read. You never want to put this down and the great connection between the men fairly leaps off the page.

There isn’t much to the novella; it’s fairly short and mostly filled with sex. Yet the great writing and appealing characters made this an instant favorite for me. The sex is scorching hot and blends rough sex with tenderness, need with desire. The men are well fleshed out and manage to appear honest and interesting. These are two characters that will stay with you long after reading and leave you wanting much, much more. In fact this is a great addition to the author’s backlist and suspect fans and newcomers alike will eat this up.

The ending is the only possible sticking point since it ends abruptly. There’s no definite happy ending yet there is the definite possibility of more. In fact given their chemistry, the incredibly delicious sex, and the way these two men fit together, I can't imagine anything but a happy ending in their future. It’s just up to reader’s imaginations to put them there. Don’t let that turn you off though as this is a truly entertaining and wonderfully erotic read.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hunters by Michelle Marquis & Lindsey Bayer



Hunters by Michelle Marquis and Lindsey Bayer
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (206 pgs)
Other: M/F, Voyeurism, BDSM
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Statice

Kirillian Harmony Knox was one of the most successful bounty hunters in the galaxy—until a brain-eater named Prime became her only failure and escaped, landing her in jail. Now free, she'll stop at nothing to catch him and stop his murderous rampage.

Unfortunately for Harmony, fellow hunter Bart Tanner has the only available transport. Arrogant and ruthless, Tanner is known for killing most of his bounties. Harmony can't stand him—yet she can't deny the deep sexual desire sparking between them.

Once enslaved as a cage fighter by a cruel Kirillian, Tanner harbors a deep hatred for the alien race—though he's drawn to Harmony's luscious sensuality, and they soon indulge in erotic encounters.

When Prime puts out a hit on Harmony, things intensify, and Tanner realizes their lust has turned into something deeper—but if he and Harmony aren't careful, more than just their lives will be at stake...

Kirillian Harmony Knox has just been released from prison, and nemesis Bart Tanner turns out to be her ride home! Could things get worse after being stuck in prison for a year just for trying to catch a killer? Yes, indeed, they definitely could and do – not only does she have to live down the fact that she ended up in prison, but worse, the thing she was hunting got away and he has been free to continue his murderous rampage.

These characters are strong, independent, able to rely solely on themselves – as all good bounty hunters should – but deep down within, they are longing for something that has yet to be defined.  Maybe they can find it in themselves and their relationship, if they don’t kill each other first. One problem:  they have to learn to work together to even have any hope of catching the brain eater, Prime.  Then, when a hit is put on Harmony, well ... needless to say things become dangerous.

Since they are both bounty hunters you would expect Harmony and Bart to be similar in some ways, but they are like chalk and cheese – they approach things differently but they may just find that opposites attract. First of all, they have to learn how to work together, do their job, survive that experience and at the same time figure out what on earth to do about their relationship.

I really enjoyed this book. It was fresh and new – I must admit a lot of the books I have been reading of late seemed formulaic and have lacked that spark and zing that have made me really want to keep reading to find out what happens and why. I didn’t have that problem with Hunters. It got me in from the first page and I just couldn’t put it down. I loved the story and the setting and Ms. Marquis and Ms. Bayer have done a really good job of building the world that Harmony and Bart live and work in – it is lush and new, and yet not so strange that is it way out there.

Harmony is a complicated person and she had been searching for missing pieces and thought she had found everything she needed – at least until she met Bart! Bart is even more complicated – he's all alpha male and hates Harmony’s race with a vengeance for what had been done to him in the past. On the other hand, Bart is deeply intrigued by Harmony, and I liked this vulnerability in him – it made him all the more believable as a character. He is so attracted to Harmony and yet despite this he just can’t resist pushing her buttons – and he is just so handsome and sexy to boot, and his tattooed buff body - yum! What more could a girl want?

I kept reading to see if they would fall for each other, or if Bart would hurt Harmony as he set out to do, and if Harmony would lower her defences and allow herself to love and be loved.  She fights the attraction from the beginning – vehemently. Sex was easy, there was lots of it and there was no commitment, no emotion involved, but when it came to love, there was a barrier that had to be broken down – was Bart the guy to do it? And then bring on Prime the brain eater – urgh, just the name was enough to elicit ugly images of a crazed thing roaming around space just waiting to eat brains in the most horrific way imaginable!

I have always loved sci fi/space stories, and this one was no exception.  Mix the ugly, extremely dangerous alien, hit men and women and throw in more danger along with two characters who are made for each other though they both take time to realize it and acknowledge it, some good loving and even hotter sex and you have a winner. The shaving scene is just one hot scene that comes to mind, and ...ooh, the sex club scene, another one, and you have for me a match made in heaven, or should I say space!